Team USA survives Turkey 93-92 in FIBA World Cup behind Khris Middleton and Turkey’s missed free throws

With time running out, Turkey had a chance to defeat the United States in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, but free throws didn’t fall for Team Turkey and they did for Khris Middleton.

With a one point lead late in overtime, Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman and Turkey had a chance to upset Team USA, but they missed four straight free throws. On the other end with Team USA still down by one, Jayson Tatum attacked the rim and passed off to Middleton on a break. Middleton was fouled with 2.1 seconds and hit both his charity shots to sneak by by Turkey 93-92 in group play. Here’s that play:


Unfortunately, looks like Tatum hurt his left ankle in that final play. It’s too early to report how serious the Tatum’s injury is.  It’s worth mentioning how fortunate this win was for Team USA that prior to that winning play, a basket was taken away after Donovan Mitchell called for offensive goaltending with 35.7 seconds. And before that, Team USA went down by five to Turkey before a 7-0 run – five points from Kemba Walker — to reclaim the lead at 91-89 with 1:35 left to go in overtime.

Middleton led Team USA with team-high 15 points while Ersan Ilyasova led Turkey with 23 points. In this fortuitous win, Team USA avoided their first loss at a international tournament featuring NBA players since 2006. Both teams came in 1-0 with the winner likely advancing to the second round of the FIBA World Cup round robin play.

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